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Dining Out: Where would you go?

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I have so far done outdoor dining at a few places, which are either what is effectively fast-casual counter service with disposable plates, utensils, and drinkware, and sit-down service at varying degrees of pre-pandemic levels.

Counter service:

Wildair: Disposable everything, and somewhat rickety high top tables for seating. Food was quite good, but not the best dining experience.

Dame: Disposable everything, decent seating. Not particularly spaced out and it's on a busy sidewalk. Since I was there they've expanded to the frontage next to them, so it may be more spaced out now. Food was really great, loved the seasonal ice cream.

Mekelburgs: Not all that different than it used to be. Counter service with a number. Food was excellent as always, getting a picnic table in the back garden is the correct move. No bathroom which is tough but understandable given the circumstances.

Sit down service:

Adda: Not their fault, but they're on a really rough street for outdoor dining. Not the most relaxing scene to be next to 6 lanes of traffic on a busy street. Tables were nicely spaced and the food was great. 

Casa Enqrique: Tables nicely spaced, food very good, felt like normal dining.

Via Carota: White tablecloths and standard service. This is one of the (few) places that requests that you put your mask on whenever a staff member is at your table. I tried harder to do this than most other patrons I saw, but it's tough when you're in the middle of chewing and someone comes to fill up your water glass.

Upstate: Tables are pretty close together. Wouldn't recommend going at peak times if that makes you uncomfortable.

Foxface: Nicely spaced tables, great service, and from what I hear pretty quiet during the week. Felt like normal dining.

Ko: They've fully taken over the alley way, and set up very distanced tables. Since it's off the street, it's very quiet and protected from wind. Food was very good, and I was able to eat a lot of the classics which I'd never tried before. A $25 glass of wine served in a water glass was a little rough though. Cute little package of utensils and napkins that included a disinfectant wipe and single serving hand sanitizer.

Leyenda: Got a quick bite here when I was in the neighborhood and they also have the mask on when interacting with staff policy. Some of the staff took it more seriously than others. One guy would stand five feet away holding our food / drinks until we were able to put our masks on. I get it, but it's pretty hard to put on a mask when you have a taco in your hand. 

Overall, I didn't feel uncomfortable anywhere, especially given the current infection rates. If you're concerned, the safest-feeling experiences were at Adda, Casa Enrique, Mekelburg's (though the indoor, masked ordering might stress some people out), Foxface, Via Carota, and Ko. Wildair was fine safey-wise from a covid perspective but I was a little worried my table/stool would collapse.

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At one restaurant, we picked the fennel flowers from the planter next to us and used them on our fried anchovies. Can't do that indoors!

A good summary from El País:   https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-10-28/a-room-a-bar-and-a-class-how-the-coronavirus-is-spread-through-the-air.html?ssm=TW_CC

I don’t want to leave because I think somewhere else would be “nice”. I want to leave because I think American Death Capitalism is malicious and evil. 

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2 hours ago, joethefoodie said:

Amazingly, I can wait - even though I love supporting my friends and acquaintances in the biz, and even though I love dining out, none of this sounds like what I consider a good, fun restaurant experience.

I totally get that.  It's absolutely not as enjoyable / relaxing as it was in the olden days.

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9 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

I've been to a Michelin-fucking-starred restaurant that was serving canned cocktails.

Jesus fucking Christ.

This reminds me, we were walking on 8th Street on our way to Ko, and Mace is doing a pop-up at Existing Conditions with pre-bottled cocktails and very light food -- a pretzel, hot dogs, cheese plate. Had a couple pretty good cocktails, though if they threw in a glass and a big ice cube it would take them from not bad to excellent.

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1 hour ago, Sneakeater said:

I've been to a Michelin-fucking-starred restaurant that was serving canned cocktails.

Jesus fucking Christ.

I don't have a problem with that, in theory. Short of water, coffee, and tea, every other beverage you might get at a restaurant arrived at their door prepackaged. If it's good it's good, if not it's not. (Though from the sound of it, the latter seems to have been the case) 

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